MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) managed 2/3 winners from a tricky week one in La Liga. Can he add to that with a punt from Monday’s night offering from Granada and Eibar.
Granada v Eibar | Monday 19.30 | Sky Sports Xtra
La Liga really doesn’t help itself at times. Whilst the Premier League schedules the most attractive weekend fixture (Arsenal v Liverpool) for Monday night football, the LFP decided to roll out Spain’s ugliest possible showdown for the same slot. And they wonder why nobody will be tuning in…
It’s been a slow start to the La Liga season too. Just 1/9 week one fixture saw Over 2.5 Goals bank, only 2/9 featured Both Teams To Score winners and 4/9 ended goalless. Sadly, it would be a big surprise if Granada-Eibar bucked that trend and don’t the bookmakers know it – saying ‘No’ in the BTTS market will get you just 4/7 (Bet365) and taking Under 2.5 Goals would pay out at just 4/9 (Matchbook).
Granada are entering their fifth consecutive season in La Liga but having secured survival on the final day in three of their previous four years, stability is craved at Los Cármenes. El Grana looked doomed in 2014/15 before Jose Ramon Sandoval’s four fixtures in charge yielded 10 points and the club have been very busy over the summer as they look to overhaul the squad in the hope of avoiding a repeat.
Last term the hosts suffered from a chronic lack of goals. Only relegated Cordoba notched fewer than their tally of 29 but Youssef El Arabi has stayed on and the recent loan arrival of Thievy Bifouma should at least give them spark in forward areas. However, last year’s goalkeeper and three of their regular back four have departed including the highly-rated Jeison Murillo and Allan Nyom.
I’ve tentative confidence in Granada bettering their 17th-palced finish this time around and they’ll fancy their chances of an opening day win. The home side returned W4-D9-L2 in their final 15 La Liga matches as hosts but with the amount of new faces arriving at Los Cármenes and that slightly disappointing win rate in front of their home fans, I’m not willing to invest on the hosts at odds-on quotes (19/20 Ladbrokes).
Like Granada, Eibar arrive with an almost fully fit squad to choose from and a much changed squad from last season. José Luis Mendilibar is in charge following the departure of Gaizka Garitano as coach and as I’m sure you’re all well aware, Armeros only survived the drop courtesy of Elche’s finances not being in order.
In their debut campaign, Eibar averaged the lowest possession figure (42%) in the top-flight and after an encouraging 2014, soon disintegrated in 2015. The visitors managed just W2-D2-L15 across their final 19 but the off-season signings of Aleksandar Pantic, Antonio Luna, Mauro Dos Santos and Ivan Ramis should at least make Armeros a little more competitive.
Borja Gonzalez is perhaps the most eye-catching arrival, though. The 22-year-old strike has joined on loan from Atletico Madrid having scored 23 goals in 39 games for Real Zaragoza in the Segunda last season and with Mikel Arruabarrena staying put, Mendilibar will be hoping his troops can at least provide a goal threat going forward.
Eibar W4-D5-L10 of their 19 on the road last time out but like their hosts, it’s difficult to read much into the 2014/15 trends with so many changes taking place on both sides. Still, I can’t imagine these two will throw up a thriller (as the odds suggest) and taking the Draw (23/10 Bet365) alongside a small play on No Goalscorer at 7/1 (Betway) looks a decent angle to take. Truth be told, nobody will be paying much attention to this encounter, even if it ends 6-6!
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